Knowing when to call it quits on a project

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No one likes to throw in the towel on something they've worked hard on. And no one likes to let the project customer down. But sometimes it's the best thing for the customer. Sometimes it's the best choice - or only choice for the failing project. Has this ever happened to any of you? I have a new article on this site on this topic. Please read it and tell me what you think and share your thoughts or (bad) experiences and let's discuss... The article is here... ... -quits.php
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Joined: Thu 15 Aug 2013 1:43 pm

I know of one project of which should have been terminated prematurely! An ICT manager where I work had a bright spark idea to inflict Citrix Xendesktop on the entire site of 500 computers. Like all poorly conceived projects:

There was insufficient pre project work completed as to whether it was ever going to be feasible in our environment.

There was no sound Business Case. (Should never have been funded by leadership, blame there too)

There was absolutely zero attention paid to risks. (huge mistake as we hit virtually every potential problem!)

The concerns of the Senior Users, ie me and the Network Manager were never taken seriously.

Ultimately this was one man's baby who was simply interested in the technology than as to whether it would actually provide the best solution for our environment. The problem was a number of ageing PC's. However, as has proven since, simply replacing them with new units was by far the more sensible solution. In the event, the whole sorry project ended up costing the IT Manager his job. But as alluded to, there should have been far greater scrutiny on the business case by the individual who agreed to fund the project. Eventually, they were 'edged out' too.

What was sad was that me and the Network Manager were both very vocal in pleading with our former manager to simply terminate the project early. We could re-purpose the servers we'd purchased and basically cut our losses and learn from the experience. In the event TRIPLE the original cost was spent on extra storage and basically trying to get the damn thing to work. Of course the cost in time to our department and the inconvenience to users was also unacceptable.

This was about 6 years ago and was actually the motivation for me to start getting involved in project management.

Thanks for the response. It's sad when technology alone is the motivation for the project. Rarely does it end favorably. The sexy solution alone is never the reason to start a project. Learning experience...even though it sounds like you and the network manager didn't need the learning experience and the IT manager...well...he got the ultimate learning experience. :)

Thanks for sharing!

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